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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Stitches are usually removed within 14 days, depending on the location of the wound. Your healthcare provider will tell you when to return to have your stitches removed. Your provider will use sterile forceps or tweezers to pick up the knot of each stitch. He or she will cut the stitch with scissors and pull the stitch out. You may feel a slight tug as the stitch comes out.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your wound splits open or is starting to come apart.
- You suddenly cannot move your injured joint.
- You have sudden numbness around your wound.
- You see red streaks coming from your wound.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever and chills.
- Your wound is red, warm, swollen, or leaking pus.
- There is a bad smell coming from your wound.
- You have increased pain in the wound area.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Care for the area after the stitches are removed:
- Do not pull medical tape off. Your provider may place small strips of medical tape across your wound after the stitches have been removed. These strips will peel and fall of on their own. Do not pull them off.
- Clean the area as directed. Carefully wash the area with soap and water. Pat the area dry with a clean towel. Check the area for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or pus. Also check that the wound is not coming apart.
- Protect your wound. Your wound can swell, bleed, or split open if it is stretched or bumped. You may need to wear a bandage that supports your wound until it is completely healed.
- Care for a scar. You may have a scar after the stitches are removed. Use sunblock if the area is exposed to the sun. Apply it every day after the stitches are removed. This will help prevent skin discoloration. Talk to your healthcare provider about medicines you can use to make the scar less visible. Some medicines are available without a prescription.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
You may need to return in 3 to 5 days if the stitches are on your face. Stitches on your scalp need to be removed after 7 to 14 days. Stitches over joints may remain in place up to 14 days. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.